Commons News

Machinista Festival

Neeru Paharia, March 17th, 2004

Machinista, an arts festival focusing on machine-related art, will use Creative Commons licenses for the DVD containing the winning entries. The winners will be chosen out of the 280 submissions, which are themed as “the world as seen by the machines.” Since the content will be CC-licensed, we’re also hoping to have it hosted at the Internet Archive so the world can download it for free — by using your own machine, of course.

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Local Heroes

Glenn Otis Brown, March 14th, 2004

If you’re at South by Southwest in Austin, come by our panels at 10am (music and copyright) and 11:30am (film and copyright) Monday morning. Special guests include two Austinites: tech-media renaissance man Wiley Wiggins and GET CREATIVE! contest winner Justin Cone, whose 2-minute short “Building on the Past” perfectly exemplifies the CC mission. (How many films do you know of that involved zero in royalty costs?)

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CC Hits SXSW

Neeru Paharia, March 14th, 2004

A large part of the Creative Commons team is excited to be in Austin at South By Southwest. On Monday, we’ll be speaking on panels discussing Creative Commons for music and film. We’ll also be announcing a few related project at the conference. See you there!

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CC Remix Music

Neeru Paharia, March 12th, 2004

I found PIA’s Symbols through the Creative Commons search engine — a great album of electronic music. You can find lots of music through the search engine, which has currently indexed only 50,000 URLs out of the 1,400,000 URLs we know to contain CC licensed content (there are another 400,000 URLs in the queue).

Symbols is under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, so if you use Apple’s Garageband, or Adobe’s Audition, among other music authoring applications, you can remix it. Imagine how great it would be if there was a “get content” button within these applications, that would find thousands of hours of CC licensed music that you could re-use, or remix. It’s only a matter of time.

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Something’s gotta be done about the Beatles

Matt Haughey, March 11th, 2004

Music journalist Devon Powers has a great piece on copyright terms, sampling, and the Beatles at PopMatters. In it, she looks at the Grey Album and comes to the conclusion that overly long copyright terms harm our culture by limiting the use of music as social force. Akin to “Free the Mouse” she arrives at the conclusion “Something’s gotta be done about the Beatles.”

And for all of us who hold music dear, we owe it to ourselves to not only let our musical past footnote our musical present, but also allow that past to live and breathe, change and reform, disappear and reappear in unexpected ways.

[via The Importance of...]

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Song Science, Part II: Fact and Fiction?

Glenn Otis Brown, March 11th, 2004

Matt’s post earlier today about Hit Song Science, a piece of software that uses algorithms to analyze songs to predict their likelihood of success in the market, reminded me of a favorite imaginative bit in Jonathan Franzen’s novel The Corrections, which was a big hit a couple years ago:

. . . Brian spent his executive afternoons noodling around with computer code . . . and writing a piece of software that in the fullness of time he quietly patented, quietly found a VC backer for, and one day, on the advice of this backer, quietly sold to the W Corporation for $19,500,000.

Brian’s product, called Eigenmelody, processed any piece of recorded music into an eigenvector that distilled the song’s tonal and melodic essence into discrete, manipulable coordinates. An Eigenmelody user could select a favorite Moby song, and Eigenmelody would spectroanalyze her choice, search a recorded-music database for songs with similar eigenvectors, and produce a list of kindred sounds that the user might otherwise have never found . . . . Eigenmelody was a parlor game, musicological tool, and record-sales-enhancer rolled into one.

Franzen’s fictional concept sounds more feasible and useful than Hit Song Science’s, but the parallels are interesting.

Separate point: I remember reading Franzen’s passage and thinking what an interesting dilemma for a novelist to have: If you come up with a great, compelling idea for an invention, do you pursue it in your art, or in real life?

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SF Weekly

Press Robot, March 11th, 2004

Polishing the Brass” by Garrett Kamps

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Lawrence Lessig talk in NYC next week

Matt Haughey, March 11th, 2004

Creative Commons co-founder and chairman Lawrence Lessig will be giving a talk entitled “Creativity and Its Enemies” next week. The event will take place on March 23rd at Buttenwieser Hall, 92nd Street at Lexington, in New York City. It’s a part of an ongoing series sponsored by Wired Magazine.

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Building the perfect hit song

Matt Haughey, March 11th, 2004

This is interesting news for musicians — you know how some songs are really catchy and you wonder if the hooks could be engineered to make people like the song? A company called Polyphonic HMI has created software they call “Hit Song Science” which is supposed to contain algorithms that determine if a song is likely to be a hit. The company is touting their first attempt at using HSS in the marketplace as a success. [via furdlog]

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Whiteboarding as Art?

Glenn Otis Brown, March 10th, 2004

I’m at the Institute for the Future today for the Future of Cooperation Expert Colloqium. (I’m in favor of the future, and cooperation, as it happens, so it’s a good fit.)

One of the many interesting things I’ve learned about today is “visual journalism,” which you could also call “whiteboarding for posterity.” Eileen Clegg, who is memorializing this meeting with visual journalism, told me about a series of brainstorm-murals she created to sum up a big-thinkers symposium at IBM this fall. The images are all CC-licensed, right there on the IBM website. Check out the mural that resulted from a session led by Berkeley’s Hal Varian.

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